Fantasy settings that are actually Scifi?

Sup Veeky Forums, what are your thoughts on fantasy settings that actually turn out to be Scifi? Do you know any that've been done well?
I want to like the idea because I like both of those things, but the examples I've encountered have always seem wrong somehow.
I'm asking because my group and I want to do a worldbuilding game and then use said world for wargames, hex crawls, and maybe regular campaigns if it gets that developed. I've been toying with the idea of it being set in a topopolis flying through extra galactic space, whose builders were collecting sentient races.
This allows for justification of why the different groups all start at the same time and why each race only spreads from a single point. It allows maps to be on regular paper with the long side folding around to its opposite side and the short sides just being next to more paper. I can also have magic being people managed to figure out different commands for creator systems, and places like local atmospheric control could be the high temple of the storm god, etc. Making sure everything has a passable justification in hard tech would also provide limitations and framework on us when creating the world.
Are there any pitfalls that you've noticed in other fantasy but Scifi settings? Like I know I want no Nanites because the traditional universal assembler is literally magic, and I don't want fantasy that's actually Scifi that actually was just magic.

Hmm, #1 thing I'd put in a setting like this is nanites, extremely tiny robots that could do a lot of stuff, like light people on fire, drain their blood, make a flash of lightning etc. Just have them be controlled by several artificial intelligences that the people in the setting worship as gods. It seems like everyone is a divine magic user, but really they get power from the artificial intelligence, or perhaps the nanites can be controlled without people knowing they're doing it (like this series of hand motions makes something 50m in front of you explode)

>I know I want no Nanites because the traditional universal assembler is literally magic, and I don't want fantasy that's actually Scifi that actually was just magic.

>I want to run a setting that deliberately confuses sci fi and fantasy, but I don't want to confuse fantasy with sci fi

I should try reading the full post, cut off at the last sentence where you said "no nanites".

I'm honestly not sure what you're looking for, is it supposed to actually be sci-fi, and I'm not sure why you dont like nanites

The players will all know the background of the setting since they make it, so I'm avoiding the always badly done "surprise you're in space" trope.
And for those who don't know a tropopolis is basically like if you took an O'Neil cylinder and looped it around a star as much as you want with it connected on the ends. Gets gravity by turning like an O'Neil so doesn't have the ridiculous forces of a ringworld, and still allows just as much or more living space, and they're a good basis for a Dyson swarm. In my case it's much much smaller, but still more space than Earth, circling around a black hole thruster propelling it through intergalactic space to who knows where. Probably the creators collecting all sentient life they can in one place Before the end of the universe type thing but that's not important.
I'm obviously not expecting to map the whole thing, but it will ensure that no matter how long the game goes on for there's always an edge of the map beyond which no one's explored.

TES actually is this.

We're all in university stem, and Nanites as traditionally depicted break all the thermodynamics laws as well as a few others. The idea is the Scifi behind the scenes bits are as hard as we can make, to provide ourselves limits on what we can accomplish within the fantasy world.
IE, the magic/operating code, would at the high end allow for creating a mountain my shifting the underlying machinery, or creating storms bu using the atmospheric controls to inject more energy into the system, but does not allow for the creation of something out of any random other thing. Not sure if I'm explaining very well. Basically if Nanites could exist any 'magic' we developed could just be explained by Nanites, but then there's no none handwavy way to explain why if the Nanites allow me to create a sword why can't they create a castle, or why if they allow me to boost my physiology in some way why they can't just simply slice up the other guys brain, which would be easier but game wise shouldn't be. If I can conjure water why can't I conjure explosive alcohol? If I can use them to set one person alight, how from a Nanite cloud perspective is that different from setting a city alight?

The no Nanites is there as a rule to give us a framework/restriction to build a 'magic' system around. How the effect is happening must be justified in at the very least theoretical reality.

I thought it was some entities dream? That background has always been confusing. Either way it doesn't work because there's AFAIK no why beyond belief.
We want to use this setting for civ builder wargames first and foremost, so everything needs to be fair even as we're making up our own magic. Easiest way to do that is to require a realistic reason for how it can do that. It needs to reward ingenuity and thinking outside the box. If anything is developed that's too powerful, IE by group vote would endanger the safety of the entire habitat, it won't work again as smart antivirus programs shut down that command pathway. That's the idea anyway.

It's a setting that features giant mecha, robots, time-traveling technology, computers gaining consciousness, and interdimensional spaces, all with reasons, rationale, and logic that make sense within the world.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'no why beyond belief.' The degree of why is there, and it is certainly as well developed as other sci-fi premises.

I think I misinterpreted the abbreviation. I read The Elder Scrolls, did you mean something else or am I stupid?

It's the Elder Scrolls. Try playing more than Skyrim.

Nope, I meant The Elder Scrolls.

Elder Scrolls is filled with sidequests and journals/NPC dialogue that explain batshit insane things like time traveling cyborgs and mechadwarf moon people.

I've played morrowind through skyrim, each by an order of magnitude less than the last. I know the dwemer and akulahan however you spell it, but the setting goes the exact opposite of what I want.
It has magi tech, magic that looks like technology. I want technology that looks like magic.
Time travel, dimension hopping, and anything where the why cannot be satisfactorily theoretically answered are all out. I don't want this to be a fantasy world set in a computer simulation or dream or whatever where the rules can be anything, as that defeats the entire point of the exercise.
This is a bunch of stem nerds who want to build a world for civ game purposes and who want to use the rules of the actual universe to arbitrate what is and isn't allowed.
I'm beginning to wonder if the reason I don't like most fantasy actually tech settings is because there's a point where they just handwave and promise you that this is totally tech not magic, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Also, I can't think of a computer in TES, where does that come up?

hmm, i dont think your black hole powered dyson sphere passes the sniff test either. If the nanites are controlled by an artificially intelligent arbiter, who decides what's cool and what's not, then he can balance shit just fine.

Moreover, if this is supposed to be hard sci-fi, then one shot fucking blasts a dude. Shredding his brain isn't really unbalanced. Buuuut, no reason that dude can't be using his own nanite magic to protect himself from your nanite magic.

>and Nanites as traditionally depicted break all the thermodynamics laws as well as a few others
don't depict them as traditionally depicted then. If there's solar energy in the system this really shouldn't be a problem anyways. In theory, there really isn't any problem as far as I've read.

I dunno, I'm not really seeing anything concretely wrong with the use of nanites, and I also don't see any more plausible alternatives.

Look, TES is a Fantasy-that's-actually-Sci-Fi done well setting as requested, and it's not just a 'I can think it so it all goes away' setting. There's a lot of rationale and theory behind how the world works, and there's certainly a lot of fodder there (hell, look up 'tonal magic') for understanding how the world is put together and what can be done within those rules. The world has satisfactory theoretical answers to how it works that are internally consistent.

You seem to be operating under the idea that your science fiction world can be internally consistent to a greater degree because ... well, I'm not really sure actually. I guarantee you will be throwing theory out of the window (hell, you're already describing some cases where you will) because it is expedient to do so to fit what you want to get out of the setting. I'm not saying it's not fun to try and make a universe that largely obeys physical law as we understand it (in fact, it's great fun!), but I guarantee you whatever you end up settling on will end up being as much a pantomime of reality and will probably be less consistent (or worse, fraught with infighting over where to draw the line between 'obeying theory' and manageability/predictability).

TL,DR: you seem to be starstruck by the word 'science' in science fiction. Don't let that stand in the way of seeing how interesting, internally consistent and theoretically describable worlds can be. And don't let it swamp out the fun and interesting.

You can do both, but you'd probably wanna lean more one way or the other. Like fantasy with sci-fi bits, or visa versa.

I ran a setting once where the war forged and humans weren't native to the planet they were on, and they ended up here due to the humans being war with the Warforged for attacking earth in an attempt to harvest the life from the planet to convert to "magical" energy to power themselves.

This eventually led to a bunch of fuckery, and most of this history and technology was lost, and ultimately led into a pretty standard high fantasy setting with weird ancient magitek shit here and there.

Black hole thrusters via charged kugelblitz singularities encased in tungsten is theoretically possible. Nanites that work in speeds measured in anything less than days are not, they'd produced too much heat and have to move ftl.
The main reason for this as you said, an arbitrary Intelligence could limit what is allowed. That would have to be one of us GMing on a case by case basis, which is absolutely what we're trying to avoid.

I'm not worried about one person being able to easily kill another. That's intentional. The problem is there's no reason to justify why someone who can kill another with Nanites can't kill everyone with them. We want this for a war game first, character scale second.

Nanites not as traditionally depicted are called viruses and bacteria, which you may note cannot grow macroscale objects in seconds.

I don't need alternatives for magic, that's easily covered by manipulating the kinds of systems you'd need to keep a megastructure operational.

I was looking for thoughts, advice, and discussion, to make me think, like this Nanite talk. I'm surprised so many people are pro them.

Not him, I don't think you get what he's asking. He is trying to make a hard sci-fi setting, set on some big megastructure, with a common tech level so that it seems like fantasy. No magic, no CHIM, just scifi tech. He wants a cross between lord of the rings and Blame!

It's just me, samefagging repeatedly.

I didn't fully think through things like "wall of stone" etc. higher level magic fuckery would certainly not be instantaneous with nanites.

So as for nanites, they are a no go for traditional D&D magic at the very least.

So, to try and be constructive, many fantasy creatures could be replicated with genome editing. To allow for massive creatures, increase the oxygen content of the air. A genetically modified lizard could turn be functionally like a dragon, perhaps also breathing out methane and somehow sparking it in such a way it doesnt torch itself.

As for sci-fi ways for an instant wall, I think that's going to be very tough to even imagine something plausible.

I think your best bet is to limit how powerful magic can actually be at the very least.

Look up Numenera. That basically uses the Nanites thing. "Mages" are even called "Nanos". There's the Iron Wind and all that. The whole setting is based on mixing scifi and fantasy albeit to be fair you probably can't say it is just scifi. It really is a mix of both where you can't tell one from the other. Or I'm just falling prey to Clarke's "Any sufficiently developed technology is indistinquiashable from magic" (May have written the stupidly long word incorrectly - not a native english speaker) that the setting is based around. Might not be exactly what you're looking for but could be inspirational.

Fair enough! I could totally be misreading his intentions. Just throwing in a defense for not narrowly equating 'science fiction' with 'theoretically substantiable and consistent' - all sorts of settings do this fantastically, and a lot of science fiction does this horribly.

Reminds me a bit of Blame!. While Blame! is not fantasy pretending to be sci fi you can get this feel especially with these cyborg knight and and even an artifical afterlife.

Internal consistency is the opposite of the problem. I need it to be externally consistent, and internally doesn't really matter. I do really like TES because of its consistency, but things working that way because that's actually the way they work in that setting and it makes sense that way is not what I'm after.

To use an ancient dnd story, lighting the bonfire by the cave entrance to draw out the air and suffocated the goblins inside. With our physical laws that works, with the games rules it does jack shit. Instead of having a GM arbitrate why and what different things do under different scenarios, I want to be able to simply use reality. We're not interested in playing any of the civilizations past the Great War period so I'm not worried about things coming up that we don't have answers for.

I did not realise TES fit into the fantasy Scifi framework though, and I will be reading into more of the background, maybe replay morrowind again. I had been under the impression the the entire multiverse was part of some higher beings dream and those who awoke to that reality got immense power because of their ability to work outside the system.

You are absolutely correct and I guess I need to find out what Blame is

if youre interested in more TES stuff, there's a loe thread that pops up on the weekend that can be a good place to start if interested.

Mulling it over for another few minutes, there really isn't an alternative to nanites for most magic. What else can enhance your brain function, or bring someone back to life?

If you're set with rock hard sci-fi, then you're not gonna get much more magical than whatever is outside your window.

It seems you also want to play without any sort of DM, which leads me to wonder how you'll be doing NPCs. There is a reason a DM is part of the game.

I guess another option is keeping magical functionality really basic, as in the people in your world just dont understand technology. For example, this magically powered device charges when left out in the sun and when i press these buttons i can hear my friend's voice come out. I hate this, and think it is cheap and shitty, but it is an idea.

I like 'em. Pic related.

>Sup Veeky Forums, what are your thoughts on fantasy settings that actually turn out to be Scifi?
I like them a lot.

>Do you know any that've been done well?
The old Might and Magic.

I mean, why even pretend to be fantasy?

The playing without GM is because we will be using this for wargaming first, think ye old avalon hill hex based third Reich type games. If we end up with an interesting seeming world then we may do more normal rpg stuff that would have a GM.

As for magic my current idea is either through altars to the gods (terminals) or those who might figure out gestures or runes (code) that the systems could pick up on. Magic would be what you get the system to do, and difficulty would be based on the complexity of the spell (lines of code).
For example, there might be lasers that are used to heat up the atmosphere in certain locations for weather control. You could command a single laser to focus on a pile of wood and it would eventually burn. You could also command the entire bank of laser to focus on a single target, which would utterly annihilate it and every thing in the surrounding area (power of Hurricane in one spot). Both would be simple and easy spells, however the second would only work once before the system recognizes the danger and shut that command down and eliminates the 'hacker'. Too dangerous can easily be decided by group vote after the fact so shouldn't need GM. To maximize the spells power without being eliminated requires more specific and therefore complicated code for a more difficult spell. That's the theory anyway.
So we can do weather control, terraforming, summoning of different maintenance bots to help, Divination through surveillance systems, etc.

And you are correct about the people being primitive. We basically plan on playing a game of civilization on pen and paper from primitive just emerged up till probably Great War era.

This is the city. It has more mass than the universe. You have to take the stairs on the way to the surface. There are walls made of neutronium in your way, and posthuman angels will be synthesized on the spot to defend it if its breached. The protagonist has a sidearm that seems to be arbitrarily destructive